Education Funding

Court Rejects Kansas School Financing System

By Jessica L. Tonn & David J. Hoff — January 04, 2005 1 min read

The Kansas Supreme Court has declared that the state inadequately finances its public schools, in a long-awaited opinion released Jan. 3.

The preliminary decision agreed with a lower-court judge’s 2003 ruling that the legislature has failed to meet the burden imposed on it by the Kansas Constitution to “make suitable provision for finance” of K-12 schools.

The unanimous opinion in Montoy v. State of Kansas serves as a warning to state legislators, who were given until April 12 to address the school finance dilemma. A final and prescriptive version of the ruling will be issued at that time.

Read the Kansas Supreme Court’s preliminary decision.

“We will withhold our formal opinion until corrective legislation has been enacted or April 12, 2005, whichever occurs first,” the court declared in its ruling.

The plaintiffs in the case, the school districts of Salina and Dodge City, have argued that the current school financing structure leaves schools severely underfunded. The districts also argue that they are unable to meet the needs of their students, especially those schools in medium-size and large districts that tend to have disproportionately high numbers of minority and special education students.

Agreeing with the plaintiffs, the high court added that the finance formula is based on “former spending levels and political compromise,” rather than the actual costs of education.

Though the ruling did not include specific instructions for lawmakers, it did conclude that “it is clear increased funding will be required.”

The justices went on to say that “the equity with which the funds are distributed and the actual costs of education, including appropriate levels of administrative costs, are critical factors for the legislature to consider in achieving a suitable formula for financing education.”

In a statement released the day of the ruling, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline said that the legislature could comply with the decision by adjusting the formula used for distributing K-12 aid so that districts with high numbers of students deemed at risk get funding increases.

The Kansas state legislature reconvenes on Jan. 10.

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Some in Congress Fear State Budget Decisions May Undercut COVID-19 Education Relief
A dispute in Wisconsin over coronavirus relief underscores how technical issues and politics are affecting education spending decisions.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?
Hurdles lie ahead for a $20 billion bid to create "Title I equity grants" to address long-standing funding inequities.
9 min read
President Joe Biden talks about the May jobs report from the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, June 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden made boosting Title I for disadvantaged students a key part of his education platform on the campaign trail.
Susan Walsh/AP
Education Funding Education Department Issues Directive on Shielding Students in Poverty From Funding Cuts
The agency released the "maintenance of equity" guidance on COVID-19 relief as part of a public-relations blitz on equity amid the pandemic.
5 min read
Image of a $100 dollar bill that is cut into blocks for distribution.
E+/Getty
Education Funding New COVID-19 Aid Coalition Highlights Strategies for Retaining Teachers, Digital Learning
The coalition representing school officials, teachers' unions, and others, has pledged a multiyear effort to use relief aid effectively.
2 min read
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP